DAN AZEEZ announced himself as a force in Britain’s light-heavyweight division with a thunderous performance, stopping Hosea Burton inside seven rounds. Burton was taller, the more experienced boxer by some margin and yet from the first round Azeez was beating him to the jab. Azeez struck his left to the body and then began to slam solid jabs up to the head.
He kept up that pressure and showed deft defensive awareness to sway under Burton’s straight shots. Azeez banged in heavy rights over Hosea’s jab. Those were damaging shots, that jolted Burton back on his heels. Azeez didn’t let up, turning in an excellent showing as he made it a punishing night for Burton. The Mancunian fired off combinations, working to keep Azeez at bay. But when he tagged Dan, the Londoner drove himself back in, hacking down Hosea’s defences.
Burton was feeling Azeez’s firm, thudding power at the end of the sixth round and Azeez hurt him badly in the seventh. A right hook blasting down left Burton reeling into the ropes. Dan attacked without pausing for breath. Burton could not escape the unrelenting barrage and the referee had to step in to end it at 2-27.
Azeez is the new British light-heavyweight champion and a man to watch in future.
Richard Riakporhe steadily marked out Nigeria’s Olanrewaju Durodola with jabs, his advantage in physical strength apparent from the first round. He cracked his right cross through Durodola’s guard, shaking him up. He made his breakthrough in the fifth round, a left hook tipping the Nigerian off his feet and knocking Durodola down to the canvas. He rose but Riakporhe bombed after him, hammering Durodola into the ropes and finishing matters 36 seconds into the fifth.
London cruiserweight Mikael Lawal found the punch he needed at the end of the fifth round. He had put stubborn Italian Leanardo Damian Bruzzese down twice in the second round but then seemed to let the bout meander away from him. It got scrappy as Lawal tried to establish his range. But he landed the finishing shot with shocking force, a right hook smashing over the top, leaving Bruzzese stranded on the deck, counted out as the bell chimed to end the round.
With sheer adulation Adam Azim’s supporters greeted his arrival for just his second professional fight, and he did not leave them disappointed. He fired fast, quality punches into Stu Greener. A jab set up a wicked right hook, that dropped and stunned Greener. The bell paused the onslaught but Azim didn’t let him off, stopping him 15 seconds into the second round.
His brother Hassan Azim needed only 51 seconds to complete his professional debut. He harried Ivan Njegac with quick jabs. Directing him into a corner he whipped a right hook across the Croatian’s jaw, dropping him to knees where he stayed.
With Caroline Dubois withdrawing from the show through illness, Natasha Jonas stepped him to handily outpoint Vaida Masiokaite. The Liverpudlian shook her up with heavy southpaw crosses, hurting Masiokaite, who made it through the six two-minute rounds, losing 59-55.
Germaine Brown had a harder fight than expected with Ondrej Bundera. He lined up the Czech with solid jabs and a hard cross in the first round. But when he built up the pressure, Bundera still managed to fire in clean hits of his own. A head clash left Brown nicked by his left eye but Bundera could not derail him, losing a 60-54 decision after six rounds.
Jorick Luisetto took Florian Marku eight rounds but could never shake the popular Albanian out of his rhythm. Marku took the decision 78-75 for referee Bob Williams. Big Scotsman Nick Campbell still has plenty to work on to sharpen up his boxing but he caught up to Phil Williams eventually, cuffing shots battered him down and stopped him two minutes into the third round.